December 31, 2008

2008, a Year in Review

I have to say that 2008 was a very good year for me writing-wise.

One year ago, I had just received my first book contract. Before that, all I had was a flash fiction piece published in Beyond Centauri to my credit and that came after four years of actively pursuing publication.

Now, I have five picture books under contract and I might be included in a poetry anthology that will come out in 2010. I don’t know the details yet. I could wind up being edited out of the anthology. So, I’ll have to see how that plays out.

All I can say is, “What a difference a year makes.”

I’m hoping for more good things to happen in 2009. I several stories under consideration at various publishing houses, and I’m hoping for some good news about them. I’m also waiting for my first book to be released. Kit Grady, one of the talented illustrators associated with Guardian Angel Publishing, is currently illustrating “The Sister Exchange.” I’m excited to see what the finished book will look like.

I’m really looking forward to the New Year. I don’t know if I’ll be able to top the success I had in 2008, but I’m certainly going to try. :-)

May you and yours have a happy and healthy new year.



December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

To everyone out there, no matter what you celebrate, may you have peace, joy and love this holiday season.

Kevin :-)

December 13, 2008

Writing Assignment from my Wife

My daughter Jennifer recently celebrated her 4th birthday. We had a party for her at our local Pizza and Brew and took over an entire back room. We had it there because we couldn't get the date and time we wanted anywhere else. But it was a pretty good place. The food was good, the price reasonable, and the service was great. But I digress...I'm good at that.

One of the games we played was the Left and Right Game. This game is played at the table and consists of passing an object to the person next to you. Someone reads a story and when you hear the word "Left", you pass the item to the person on the left. When you hear the word "Right", you pass it to the person on the right. Whoever is holding the object when the story is finished wins a prize. Being that I'm the writer in the family, it fell upon me to come up with a customized version of this game. This is what I came up with.

Left and Right Game

When Jennifer was born, right away we were left with a feeling that she must have been left here by angels. Pretty soon we knew we were right. Right from the start, she was an adorable baby. Even though she had jaundice and had to be left under lights in the hospital nursery, she took things right in stride. She was left laying on her back, but she put her left hand under her head, and crossed her left leg and left laying there like that, she looked like she was sunning herself.

Right after we left the hospital, Jennifer continued to work her way right into our hearts. We were always left wondering how we managed to be left with such a bright, personable child. She always said things that left us laughing. She was always able to understand new things right away and when she contradicted us about something, she was usually right.

Right now, Jennifer is four years old and every Saturday morning she heads right for dance school. One of the first things that they taught her is her right from her left. Many of the other children in her class know their left foot from their right foot. But sometimes they make a mistake and confuse their left with their right and their right with their left, not realizing that their left is their left and their left is not their right, but that their right is their right and their left is their left. But then they figure out the right moves and use their right as their right and their left as their left and not their right as their left or their left as their right. You’re left feeling happy for these children because of the smiles left on their faces because they’ve figured out their left from their right and are finally using their left as their left and not their left as their right.

But right when you think there is nothing left to learn, the instructors right at the dance school will use whatever time is left to move the older children right in front to lead the other children left behind in marching in straight line. This is a little more complicated because in addition to using their left and right feet, they are also using their right and left hands, often holding them out right in front of them as they march. Sometimes an older child will be placed right in the back of the line to make sure that the younger kids aren’t left out of the formation and that no child is left behind. But sometimes the additional use of their left and right hands as well as their right and left feet will confuse the younger children left behind and they will start using their left as their right again instead of their left as their left. But in the time they have left, they will figure out that their left is their left again.

But as cute as all of these children might be as they learn their left from their right and their right from their left, I think there is one child left standing out as the cutest one of them all. If you think her name is Jennifer, you would be right.

Actually it worked out fairly well. The adults liked it as well as the children. My father-in-law wound up winning the prize (a $10 gift card). Of course, this puts pressure on me to come up with something better next year. :-)

December 5, 2008

Whoo Hoo!

Guardian Angel Publishing has accepted a picture book I’ve written called Papa’s Suns. It’s about a boy who’s grandfather had a stroke and how he copes with it. I’m glad that this story found a home. Because of the subject matter, I thought that I would have a tough time placing this story. There’s not a tremendous market for stroke-related stories. But I attended the Muse Conference Online where Guardian Angel had a forum and I saw that they wanted to expand their Health and Hygiene imprint. Guardian Angel has published my other picture books, so I sent it to them.

This story wound up needing more revision than I originally thought. The main change I made to the story was changing it from first person to third person point of view. I also needed to add some more senses (sounds, touch, etc) to try to draw kids into the story.

But it was well worth the effort. I received a contract, and dropped it in the mail yesterday. I have to say that 2008 has been a very good year for my writing. So far, this makes five picture books that I have under contract. I can’t wait until they are finally released. I feel like holding my books in my hands.

I’ve been spending a lot of my time dealing with the promotional aspects of the writing business and I think that my knowledge has grown exponentially. But I feel my muse calling me again. I think it’s time to get back to basics. I need to start working on some new material.

December 2, 2008

Drum Roll, Please

And here’s ……. my blog! Ta da!!! (Insert sound of crickets here).

After much internal debate, I decided to launch a blog. I recently attended the Muse Online Conference and joined up with a virtual book tour group with people from the conference. I had been toying with the idea of creating a blog, although I was a little afraid that it would take too much of my writing time away. But from what I’ve learned about the business end of writing, nobody is going to take an interest in you or your books if they don’t know about you. Also, it’s been a long road to publication. I think that I’ve learned a lot and I think that I have something to say. I hope you’ll agree. The last thing I want is for this to be a waste of time for the both of us.

I spent the majority of my time in the Muse Conference in the promotional forums and joined the virtual book tour group afterwards. The blogs and websites of the other members of the group are listed on the right side of my blog. I’ll be hosting other members and conducting interviews and they will be doing the same for me as well, all in an effort to get the word out about ourselves and our books. My first book, “The Sister Exchange”, should be out early in 2009, although I don’t know the exact release date yet.
The release date is dependent on the availability of the illustrator.

My picture books are being published by Guardian Angel Publishing. They are a fast growing publisher based in St. Louis. I found Guardian Angel through last year’s Muse Conference and sent them a manuscript called “The Soggy Town of Hilltop”. Much to my delight, I received an acceptance email about a month after I submitted the story. I submitted other stories to them that were also accepted, one is a counting book titled “Lightning Strikes”, another is a new baby picture book called “What Is That Thing?, and “The Sister Exchange” which is a sibling rivalry story. I was given a choice about which book I wanted to be published first, and I chose “The Sister Exchange”. I had read the manuscript during a school visit and it was a hit with the kids. One mother even requested the book even though it’s not out yet. I took that as a good sign and chose that one as my debut book. Hopefully, my instincts will prove correct and the book will get a good reception. I’ve got my fingers crossed.